In the Incisive Media blowup and the subsequent split, some other interesting details have come out in a memo the North America CEO Bill Pollak sent out earlier this morning to U.S. employees, reprinted below. Among the changes: the U.S. arm will be rebranded as ALM, the original name of the company when it was bought out by Incisive and its backer Apax Partners two years ago (Bruce Wasserstein sold it in the nick of time, that’s for sure).
Meanwhile, Incisive Media in the U.K. will continue under the Incisive brand, headed by CEO Tim Weller, and will retain ownership of online marketing news site ClickZ, SearchEngineWatch and conference Search Engine Strategies businesses; Incisive bought those separately from Alan Meckler’s whatever-his-company-was-called-then in 2005.
Meanwhile, WSJ reports that Apax’s losses on this investment is in the region of $150 million, a rarity for the highly regarded PE shop which just bought out Bankrate (NSDQ: RATE) here in U.S. Its 71 percent stake in ALM, worth about $180 million, has been cut to 51 percent worth $129.6 million, the story says; it may increase if the company performs well.
Meanwhile, the memo from Pollak:
“As you may be aware, today the press has reported a restructuring and rebranding of the company. As a result of new agreements signed by our owners and lenders, we will once again become an independent, standalone company, with our own management, board of directors and financing, operating under the ALM brand. While the agreements are pending regulatory approval in the U.K., we expect to make a formal announcement next week.
While we will continue to be majority-owned by funds advised by Apax Partners, our lender, Royal Bank of Scotland, will swap a portion of its existing ALM debt for a 49% equity stake in the company and become a minority owner of ALM.
Although we have a new name and structure, our business positions are fundamentally unchanged. ALM remains the leading provider of current legal news and information in the largest legal marketplace in the world. Despite the severity of the commercial real estate downturn, our publications have retained their leading market share in their sector and GlobeSt.com has strengthened its position as the leading online provider of news and information in that arena.
Coming new product introductions will broaden our reach in the legal information marketplace and our investments in digital technology
are already bearing fruit. And, as the media world moves to a greater reliance on paid content and more sophisticated advertising and sponsorship models, ALM is well-positioned for future success.
Incisive Media in the U.K. will continue under the Incisive brand, headed by Tim Weller, and will retain ownership of the ClickZ/SEW/SES businesses, which will no longer report to ALM management. Between now and the end of the year, we will transition the separation of our shared infrastructure and operations from Incisive Media and complete the rebranding of our company as ALM. In addition, we are currently discussing a formal content-sharing agreement with Incisive which will enable us to continue to collborate with Legal Week and other properties.
I’m sure that many of you may have questions regarding the restructuring and rebranding, and their impact on your job and your customers. To help answer them, I’m attaching an FAQ document covering key issues.
As always, feel free to contact me directly if you have additional questions or issues.
William L. Pollak
CEO North America
By Rafat Ali